So you have finally decided to say goodbye to your glasses and contact lenses and opt for LASIK eye surgery. Congratulations! LASIK is one of the most popular refractive surgeries worldwide, with over 700,000 procedures performed each year in the United States alone. However, before you go under the laser, there are certain things you need to do to prepare yourself physically and mentally.
This checklist will guide you through the important steps to take before your LASIK procedure.
Consultation with an Ophthalmologist
The first and most crucial step is to consult with a qualified ophthalmologist who specializes in refractive surgeries. During this consultation, your doctor will evaluate your eye health and determine if you are a suitable candidate for LASIK. They will also discuss any potential risks and complications associated with the surgery and answer all your questions. The expertise of a seasoned ophthalmologist brings several important benefits:
- Accurate Diagnosis and Suitability Assessment: An experienced ophthalmologist is skilled in accurately diagnosing eye conditions and determining if you’re a suitable candidate for LASIK. They can identify factors that might affect the surgery’s success, such as corneal thickness, eye dryness, and the overall health of your eyes.
- Customized Treatment Plans: Every eye is unique. A knowledgeable ophthalmologist can tailor the treatment to your specific needs, taking into account your vision, lifestyle, and any unique eye characteristics. This personalized approach enhances the likelihood of successful outcomes.
- Advanced Skill in Handling Complications: If complications arise during or after the surgery, an experienced ophthalmologist will have the necessary skills to manage them effectively. Their extensive experience allows them to anticipate potential issues and take proactive steps to mitigate them.
- Familiarity with Latest Technologies and Techniques: Ophthalmology is a rapidly evolving field. An experienced doctor stays updated with the latest advancements in LASIK technology and techniques, which can lead to better surgery outcomes, reduced recovery time, and lower risks of complications.
- Informed Decision-Making: An experienced ophthalmologist can provide comprehensive information about the risks and benefits of LASIK, helping you make an informed decision. They can answer complex questions and address any concerns you may have, based on a wealth of knowledge from previous cases.
The Week Before LASIK Surgery
- Stop Wearing Contact Lenses: Contact lenses can temporarily reshape the cornea, which could lead to inaccurate measurements and affect the surgery’s outcome. Switching to glasses at least a week before (or as long as your doctor advises) ensures your cornea returns to its natural shape.
- Start Using Prescribed Eye Drops: These drops are typically antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection and sometimes include anti-inflammatory drops. It’s crucial to use them exactly as prescribed to ensure your eyes are in the best possible condition for surgery.
- Stock Up on Artificial Tears: If recommended by your surgeon, buy plenty of artificial tears. They are essential for keeping your eyes lubricated after surgery, which helps with comfort and healing.
- Buy an Extra Box of Tissues: Have tissues on hand for post-surgery care. Your eyes may be watery or you might need to gently dab them.
- Purchase Non-Prescription Polarized Sunglasses: These sunglasses will protect your sensitive eyes from bright light and UV rays post-surgery.
- Inform Your Doctor About Health Changes or New Medications: Any new health conditions or medications can impact how your body responds to the surgery. For instance, certain medications might increase the risk of bleeding or affect how your eyes heal.
- Arrange for Someone to Drive You Home After Surgery: Your vision may be blurry or you might be under the effects of sedatives, making it unsafe to drive. Having a reliable person to drive you home is essential for your safety.
- Stock Up on Food Supplies: Plan for several days of rest, so stock up on easy-to-prepare meals and snacks. You should avoid cooking or preparing food for at least 24 hours post-surgery.
- Consider Buying a Cool Humidifier: A humidifier can add moisture to the air, which can be soothing and beneficial for your healing eyes.
- Take Time Off Work for Surgery and Recovery: Depending on the nature of your job, you might need a few days to recover. Jobs that require physical strain or extensive use of computers may demand more time off for your eyes to heal comfortably.
- Mentally Prepare for the Surgery: Think through the surgery process as described by your surgeon. Familiarizing yourself with each step can reduce anxiety and make the experience less daunting.
The Day Before LASIK Surgery
- No Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol can dehydrate you and potentially affect the healing process. It’s best to avoid it to ensure your body is in optimal condition.
- Get a Full Night’s Sleep: A well-rested body will respond better to surgery and heal more efficiently. Good sleep also helps in managing anxiety and ensures you’re alert and calm on the day of the surgery.
- Prepare for the Surgery Day: Having all necessary items ready — like your ID, payment method, and any paperwork — helps reduce stress and ensures a smooth process on the day of the surgery.
On the Day of LASIK Surgery
- Avoid Eye Makeup, Creams, and Lotions: Keeping your eyes and surrounding areas free from any potential contaminants is crucial to avoid infection.
- Wear Comfortable, Lint-Free Clothing: Comfortable clothing helps you stay relaxed during the procedure. Lint-free attire is recommended to prevent any particles from getting into the surgical area.
- Arrive Early for Your Appointment: This gives you ample time to complete any last-minute paperwork, use the restroom, and settle down before the surgery.
Hours Before Your LASIK Surgery
- Drink a glass of water: It’s essential to remain hydrated before surgery.
- Take any medications prescribed by your doctor: These may include sedatives to help you relax or antibiotics to prevent infection.
- Use the restroom: This will help avoid any discomfort during the procedure and minimize movement.
- Remove all jewelry, contact lenses, and makeup: As mentioned earlier, these can interfere with the surgery.
- Keep calm and trust your surgeon: Remember, you are in safe hands, and LASIK is a quick and virtually painless procedure. Trust your surgeon to guide you through it with precision and care.
LASIK Post-OP Instructions
- Take a Rest: Once you get home, take a long nap or rest for several hours to allow your eyes to heal. Wearing sunglasses during this time is crucial as your eyes will be sensitive to light.
- Follow Your Eye Drop Regimen: Use the prescribed eye drops at the recommended intervals and avoid touching your eyes unnecessarily.
- Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes: Rubbing your eyes can dislodge the flap created during LASIK, leading to complications.
- Wear Protective Shields: Most surgeons will provide protective shields to wear over your eyes when sleeping for at least a week after surgery.
- Attend Follow-Up Appointments: It’s crucial to attend all follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your progress and address any concerns.
- Resume Normal Activities With Caution: Your surgeon will provide specific instructions on when you can resume different activities like driving, exercising, or using eye makeup.
- Avoid Swimming or Hot Tubs: These activities can expose your eyes to bacteria and lead to infection during the healing process.
- Be Patient with Your Healing Process: Everyone heals at a different pace, so it’s important to be patient with the process and not rush back into your routine too soon. Your vision may continue to improve over several weeks after surgery.
- Contact Your Surgeon Immediately if You Experience Any Complications: If you experience any severe pain, sudden changes in vision, or other concerning symptoms, contact your surgeon immediately for further guidance.
The Importance of Proper Post-Operative Care
Proper post-operative care following LASIK surgery is essential for several critical reasons. Firstly, it significantly enhances the healing process. The eyes, being delicate organs, require careful attention after undergoing any surgical procedure, and following the surgeon’s instructions, such as using prescribed eye drops, can expedite recovery and reduce the risk of complications. This care is also vital in preventing infections, a common concern after surgery.
By maintaining cleanliness and avoiding actions like rubbing the eyes, the risk of infection is greatly minimized. Additionally, post-operative care plays a key role in reducing discomfort and irritation. Experiences of dryness and mild discomfort post-LASIK are not uncommon, and adhering to recommendations like using artificial tears can alleviate these symptoms, making the recovery process more comfortable.
Another crucial aspect is the impact of post-operative care on the surgery’s outcome. The primary aim of LASIK is to achieve the best possible vision, and this is heavily dependent on how well one follows post-surgery care instructions. Regular follow-up appointments allow for timely adjustments and address any emerging issues, ensuring optimal vision results.
Book Your LASIK Surgery Today!
At Saddleback Eye Center, we understand the importance of comprehensive care and support before, during, and after LASIK surgery. Our team of highly experienced surgeons is committed to providing you with personalized care to ensure a successful outcome. From pre-surgery preparation to post-operative instructions, we are dedicated to making your LASIK journey as comfortable and smooth as possible.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards achieving clear, sharp vision without glasses or contact lenses.